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Build a PC Inside of a Mac 142

jherro writes: "Looking for the coolest case on the block? Already have enough fish tanks? Then might just want to build a PC inside of your old classic mac. Makes a great little mp3 server. Sadly, the mirror at angelfire will probably be faster than the original at Smuniverse." Finding a cheap 9" monitor would be a nice trick, too.
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Build a PC Inside of a Mac

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  • Hmm. (Score:3, Funny)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:07AM (#3420625) Homepage
    Then might just want to build a PC inside of your old classic mac.

    "What's that steaming puddle of plastic for?"

    "It's my new Athlon Mac SE. You like it?"

    • Well, I have an old Mac SE. It rocks, and I would never put anything else inside it. It's a Mac SE, and it stays that way until it's completly unrunnable. I have a friend who built an aquarium out of one of these.. Darn cool! It's even got a blue backlight.
  • by Lurkingrue ( 521019 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:11AM (#3420630)
    Sorta like hiding manure inside a bouquet of flowers -- what a great evil trick to pull on someone!
    • This is the ultimate in putting form over function...

      Although, I don't find the old Mac case all that beautiful. Interesting, yes, and certainly innovating at the time, but I wouldn't want one on my desk.
    • Ah - but isn't this a good deterrent to thieves? I remember when I was on work experience as a technician I went to turn the computer on - it didn't work. Turned out it was just an empty case to deter thieves. The keyboard and mouse were hooked up to the real computer in a cupboard.
    • Oi! How about building a PeeCee inside of a beige PeeCee case? These days, that would definitely not be the mainstream thing to do! Cheap beige PC cases available here [].
  • Barf. (Score:2, Flamebait)

    People who butcher vintage computers make me sick. It's like chopping up a Model T, or 50's Tbird, and using the pieces of sheet metal to patch your AMC Gremlin.

    Besides, I just got a decent 9" (monochrome) SVGA monitor for $5. Just gotta know where to look...
    • Re:Barf. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by trb ( 8509 )
      Garbage dumps are filled with "vintage" computers, including old macs. Would it also make you sick if people butchered old tvs? Old milk cartons?
      • Actually, the world would probably be a better place, if people all landfilled their TV's, and dug out those old macs. Learn 68k asm.

        I choose not to take a stance on use milk cartons at this time. Some of those were classics. ;)
    • NoMoreNicksLeft:It's like chopping up a Model T, or 50's Tbird, and using the pieces of sheet metal to patch your AMC Gremlin.

      Actually, this is more like building a hotrod from a Model T wreck when the veteran enthusiasts has given up on it.

      O.K, an SE/30 in working order is still a cool machine, but it isn't really unique. If you really want to barf, check out [] . . .

    • Actually, I just picked up a couple of dead Mac SE's on Thursday, and I was going to do the fishtank thing to one of them, and send the guts on to the recycler.

      These things are dead as doornails. One actually has scorchmarks on the video/powersupply board, and that's the one that at least boots, but doesn't display any video. Talking to some mac repair people, it appears that fixing them isn't really practical, and most likely impossible. I might be able to get 5 bucks for both on ebay, or I can do something fun with them, and this project might be a good thing to try.

      Though I would agree with you if they were working. I also have a completely functional Mac Plus that will not be ripped apart.
    • Except (maybe!!!) for a 128k mac with original roms & 400k drives, It would be rough to call *any* mac "vintage" in the same sense of a Model T or 57 Chevy.

      Amost any 8 bit (save for post-Pet Commodore [VIC-20, C64]) would be vintage micro,the handful of Z-8000 and 68000 (not 68020 or later), and non-pc-compatible 8086 (generally *not* 8088) would really be the *later* limit for what might be vintage. You could stretch by arguing for the original (pre-XT) IBM PC as a transition from classic to commodity, but htat's as late as you can possibly get.


      • My general rule of thumb is... if it isn't x86, and it's not a recent mac, it's vintage. These are the computers of my childhood, and even if they don't deserve that distinction in age, they deserve it for style, I don't like what Apple has become, but the compact macs kicked ass. Not that I'm a mac nut... I also have 4 or 5 amigas, at least 3 atari ST's and very nearly anything else you can think of.

        Maybe I just like non-x86 machines.
    • > People who butcher vintage computers make me sick.

      Yeah - much better to let them get composted at the dump, isn't it! Then at least you know they're being used! Oh hang on...
      • Why not? So the plastic case doesn't get landfilled... just the CRT and mobo, huh? 90% of a butchered vintage computer does get landfilled, usually the worst parts too, from an eco standpoint. Not to mention, the things that make it cool.
  • Emulation (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ratbert42 ( 452340 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:17AM (#3420644)
    Then you can run the Basilisk II [] Mac emulator and have the fastest compact Mac.
    • A friend and I are toying around with the idea of a MacSE PPC accelerator board. And it wouldn't rely on emulation/cheating.

      Wanna race?
      • Check this out! A Mac SE running Mac OSX.,2125,51231,00.html
        • That's an SE30. Big difference. Besides, sounds like the gutted the thing. I'm talking about an actual accelerator card. Plugs into the pds slot. Besides, anyone who is into these kinds of conversions knows that the proper way to add a CD drive is front mounted, quarter height SCSI. The SE30 has enough room internally for a 1/4 height (or is it 1/8 height, I forget) drive.. and it only requires minimal dremel work for the front panel. Even better, I've heard talk of getting a slot loading CD drive, and having that exposed in the 30's grillwork.

          Why the hell would you have the CD drive rear mounted? Some people have absolutely no style.
          • The SE/30 is a timeless idea, and should be built more often.

            In it's time, the SE/30 was pure brilliance. Mac had two lines, the little all-in-ones, and the Mac II line wiht the faster processors. The SE/30 was, essentially, the Mac IIx (top of the line) in an SE (bottom or near bottom) of the line case. It cost about $1000 more than the base SE, and only had the single expansion slot, but it was actually marginally *faster* than the IIx as it didn't have to deal with the nuBus.

            I bought one in late 1989, and it was more than sufficient to run my law office from late '89 until it got replaced with a powerbook in Fall '93.

            [Note that the replacement wasn't because it was no longer adequate, but because of stability problems from putting Chip Merchant memory in the second bank--at the time they had a (deserved) reputation for sloppy manufacture: the SIMM was a mm or two two wide, and cracked the slot. It's really amazing it lasted as long as it did with rubber cement holding the socket together . . .]

            Anyway, the point is that Apple offered all of the horsepower of the very top of the line in the base system for a cost that was a fraction of the price differential--at a cost of the exandability that very few would need. Let's face it: how often do you add more than one card after you buy a system instead of replacing it outright (yes, I have, too, but it's still the exception).

            I put in a controller for a 19" 1024x768 1 bit monitor--amazing for it's time, if nothing today.

            anyway, an Imac/30 is an idea that should be *constantly* running around apple--keep the basic unit, with it's display, but offer a faster processor.

            hawk, who still has a couple of pieces and the ROM's from Damien [1]

            [1] hey, I *didn't* say we got along--the first tome the monitor swiveled 720 degrees in it's mount, it was named . . .

            • Actually they did resurrect the SE/30 in the form of the Classic II. (The Mac Classic was about SE speed IIRC).
              • Actually they did resurrect the SE/30 in the form of the Classic II. (The Mac Classic was about SE speed IIRC).

                No, the Classic II was pretty much a bottom-of-the-line LC II in a Classic case, and a poor replacement for the SE/30 (no expansion slots, 10 MB RAM ceiling as opposed to 128MB for the SE/30, and a 32-bit CPU on a 16-bit data bus), although it was significantly cheaper. A resurrected SE/30 at the time would have been a Quadra 700 in a Classic case, which would have been a kick-ass machine back in October 1991..
  • News flash (Score:5, Funny)

    by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:18AM (#3420650)
    Cupertino CA - Jef Raskin, Andy Hertzfeld, and Bill Atkinson, members of the original Macintosh team committed mass seppuku today on DeAnza Blvd. When asked why, they replied "we'd read this article on slashdot about stuffing a PeeCee into a classic Mac, and we thought someone must be rolling over in their grave. But then we remebered we're not dead yet, so we had to push the project along..."
  • This case sounds (or better looks) like fun.

    But isn't there some solution to set up your vast song database on your main server in another room and tell 'em to server your AUX-input of your normal Hifi Equip. by a (obviosly non IR) remote controller?

    Anyone any experience?
    • I recently picked up one of these [] for that very purpose. It comes with a RF remote and a 2.4GHz audio/video sender/receiver. So far it's working out ok, though it still needs some tweaking to avoid interference.
    • But isn't there some solution to set up your vast song database on your main server in another room and tell 'em to server your AUX-input of your normal Hifi Equip. by a (obviosly non IR) remote controller?

      Perhaps you mean A-UX input? :)

      -fester (who had the a-ux floppy-based install somewhere...)
  • never said why he wanted to replace his laptop with the Mac...errrr...pc. I think a laptop works just fine for taking up little space and serving mp3's. (Plus you can save your wire and duct tape for other uses.)
    • Hi, I'm "the guy". I was actually using the laptop as an mp3 station to play mp3's on my stereo. It wasn't fast enough to decode mp3's and browse at the same time and had a crappy soundcard. Now i'm using the modified mac as the server and the station. Its much nicer i think...
      • Ha...Thats the same problem I had with my laptop, not enough CPU to surf and listen to tunez at the same time. (It was a 133 MHZ Pentium) Anybody have any idea as to how fast a machine one needs to do both at the same time?
  • "Finding a cheap 9" monitor would be a nice trick, too."

    Isn't there enough room around the edges to bolt a 10" LCD panel in, then just configure to use the visible part?

  • Cheap 9" monitors (Score:5, Informative)

    by Consul ( 119169 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:27AM (#3420666) Journal
    You don't really need to go out of your way to find a 9" PC monitor. There's a place called Earth LCD [] that has loads of surplus and overstock LCDs available, including touch screens. Some surfing around will come up with a good 8.5-9" color LCD with a VGA input.
  • Next: can someone hide a pc into this Apple Cinema HD Display [] please.

    /me wants one :)

  • .. how the guy got through it without getting any nasty shocks from the monitor HV, not sure about the cat though.
  • by GutBomb ( 541585 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:41AM (#3420688) Homepage
    I saw another one of these a couple days ago, don't remember where I got the link, but I think this one [] is much nicer, with an lcd screen and all. I think he is using the mac mouse and keyboard too... (not sure)
    • Regrettably, he is using a PC keyboard and mouse. Here's the rationale:

      "I did not hack the original keyboard or mouse to work with my computer. The main reason is because i don't actually have either one. It should not be too hard theoretically to create a PS2 compatible keyboard using the stock parts to work with this computer."

      At any rate, it's a cool hack.
    • Too bad his monitor cutout is offcenter to the right. Very ugly. Otherwise, kinda cool, I might try it some day.
  • by JohnBE ( 411964 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:45AM (#3420696) Homepage Journal
    This is insane. There are far more interesting things to do with old computers, I read recently that someone built an Amiga laptop. Which is odd because Amiga never built anything other than desktops and they were converting the A600 consumer model. OK, obscure example. But...

    Why not try something similarly imaginitive with old Macs? It would be interesting to see what a machine code programmer and some control outputs could do. Certainly automate a bedroom at least. Replacing it with a PC is dull and an old Mac is far cheaper than a 68000 based embedded development board and better documented than a lot of embedded developement boards. Re-program, skew, take out of context but don't ditch the heart and soul of the machine.

    If you want a wacky case take up shop lessons and learn to work metal, don't destroy the past (with some effort and time spent).
    • by cetan ( 61150 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @10:19AM (#3420768) Journal
      Why would you want to stop with just a chicken in a turkey? If you put a chicken inside a duck first, it tastes a lot better:

      Turducken [] to the rescue.

      Yes, I've had one and yes, they do taste great.
      • Lol. I wouldn't mind trying it though.

        Another historical excess. King Henry VIII was keen on things like that, probably tasted of borage or whatever other herbs they used at the time.

        There were Indian recipes like this too; a few centuries ago a dish was cooked up for the Indian royals. It composed of an ox stuffed with a goat, stuffed with a hare or rabbit stuffed with a peahen, stuffed with a quail which was finally stuffed with a finch. Each animal was de-boned in one piece, then marinaded in a different spice sauce and then roasted. To serve it was sliced crossways.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      There are several Amiga DIY designs on Amiga Interactive Guide []. You are probably thinking of the Suzanne - a custom designed A600 laptop fitted with a 68020 accelerator. There are also stories of one of the original Amiga team fitting an Amiga (A2000 I think) into an SX64 case.
      • Thanks I was trying to remember the name. I did think of Suzanne but discounted it as silly, for some reason I couldn't get the name Denise out of my head, but I remember that Denise was the name of on of the ECS chipsets IIRC.
        • Agnes, Denise, and Paula. One of the first integrated multimedia chipsets in the world, and if some of the features I've heard of are true (especially the part about multiple resolutions on the same screen, which may be a slightly garbled memory).

          I wonder what that kind of technology would be like now...

          • It'd probably wipe out the need for Direct X and other hardware abstraction libraries. Apart from that who knows? Chromatic Lab's had an all in one chipset for the PC called the MPACT chipsed but unfortunately they bombed. The MPACT II was particularly interesting, it had its own bytecode and could be re-programmed for lots of different functions. The present owners won't release any of the programming details for copyright reasons, which is a bummer because X etc. has to be run using the Framebuffer driver and the Windows drivers are very old.
          • >especially the part about multiple resolutions on >the same screen,

            Hardly innovative by the time of the Amiga--the Atari 400/800 had that!

            The Ataris had a "display list" which indicated how manyy pixels to put in the line, what depth to use, how many times to repeat each screenline, and how many times to use this information. A trivial example would be the Apple II graphics modes, which used either 4 bit at 40/line repeated 8 times, or the high resolution with 1.2 bits (or whatever you want to call that), both with 4 lines of text at the bottom. Apple had these hard-wirecd; Atari let you do any combo you could conceive of on a line-by-line basis.

            Also, you could specify where in memory the display started--so you could shake/move the screen by adjusting that adress.


  • Alternate Choices (Score:4, Informative)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:55AM (#3420713) Journal
    I would have thought that an old LCD panel or something would have been more usable in the case vs a nine inch monitor, which is a very rare bird indeed.

    quick search on google only finds 9 inch monitors in monochrome, and ten inch color. He uses a ViewMagic [], which currently only shows a 10" color available as new product.

    odd fish indeed.

    • Yeah, I wanted to use an LCD at first but couldn't find any that were reasonably priced. I didn't want to sink a lot of money into it since I wasn't sure I'd get anything to work. There were actually a few 9/10" color monitors on ebay that I found for ~$50-80. The one I got is actually a 10" with 9" viewable.
  • by Nogami_Saeko ( 466595 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:58AM (#3420715)
    ...To fool the Mac Zealots club into thinking I had defected to the dark side or something...

    "Ah HA! Is that a Mac I see on your Desk!? FINALLY saw the light, did you?"

    "Oh, yes indeed I did, now go away while I play some Dungeon Siege on it".
  • What I would really like is a PC inside of a Power Mac case []. Starting with the G3 Yosemites, Apple's cases got incredibly sexy. I'd been laboring under the impression that cases of the same quality as the Power Mac could be purchased, but after I dropped $100 on my first PC case a couple of months ago, I've learned that even some of the nicer ones are for shit compared to Apple's near-perfect Power Mac case.

    Has anybody managed to convert a PowerMac case into a case accepting any standard-sized PC motherboard and related internal parts? This PC inside of an LC is kind of neat, but what we all really want is a Power Mac case. :)

    -Waldo Jaquith
  • by jlower ( 174474 )
    I am planning to do something like this to one of the original iMacs. I just happen to have one that was never used but missing the logic board, CD and hard drives.

    I expect it'll be a much, much easier mod than a classic Mac conversion, but it'll also be more useful when I'm done.
    • > I just happen to have one that was never used but missing the logic board, CD and hard drives

      Sucked in! Mine's just missing the disk drive.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Great mod for those who want to create something unusual, but if you are attempting such a project please try to find a non-working classic Mac first.

    There are probably a few to be found on eBay, but there are many Mac users (like myself) who love collecting classic Macs. They are getting harder and harder to find, and the prices keep increasing, so please check around first for one that no longer works. It'd be a shame destroying a piece of history.
    • Find a University.
      The University will generally have a Mac lab.
      The University will also probably have a surplus store.

      The one near where I live has Pallets and pallets of them that nobody wants...they're probably destined for the landfill...quite a shame about that...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    example of style over substance. Although, in typical PC fashion, they used a beige-colored case!
    Wouldn't it be more fun with a grape colored iMac???
  • This would be a nice way of hiding stolen traffic control pcs :) []
  • Wow - a setup like this will be perfect for when Apple brings out MacOS X on Intel!

    [just after hell freezes over and Microsoft GPL Windows]
  • You know, I'm still looking for a place that sells a PC case that looks similar to the PowerMac G4 tower case. You know, the translucent one. I especially like the flip-down side that lets you upgrade stuff. I know there's a site that explains how to squeeze a PC into a mac case, but I'm looking for one DESIGNED for a PC. :)
    • CompUSA sells one that works like a Mac case but looks like an HP. It's made by FMI (I have no idea who that is). I've thought of buying one, but I'm ambivalent about the quality.

      Go to and look for FMI 300-watt screwless. It's about $60 online.

  • (I still like the old trick where someone took a Power Macintosh 7500, took out all the parts, and stuck them in a hollowed out apple //gs case.. just so that people would wander in his house, see him turn on the //gs, and go, hey, wait a minute .. unfortunately, i have lost the link. blah.)

    ANyway, though: what i would be very interested to see is this: There was a product available for the very early macintoshes-- the classic nine-inch one-piece ones that the current discussion is about-- that looked WIERD but was really just about the ultimate case mod.

    Here is a link to a picture taken out of the Macintosh Bible edition i originally heard of this thing in.. just look at it. [] It was called the MacChimney, or something, and as the name suggests it was basically a chimney for your macintosh. You'd go in with some tools and install this thing, and your macintosh would suddenly be about twice as tall and have this cone-like thing sticking off the top with a big stovepipe at the top.

    The advantage to this was, the product had been designed in such a way that between the chinmey and the way it affected the air circulation inside the case, once the chimney was installed you no longer needed a fan. At all. So you'd remove the fan and get a literally totally silently-running macintosh.

    So, basically, since we are talking about putting a PC inside of a classic macintosh, my question is this:
    • Were you to somehow locate one of the classic macintoshes with the antique macchimney thing, would it be possible to use safely it with modern pc technology, or is that darn pentium IV just too darn blazing hot?
    • What about with the slightly cooler-running modern mac hardware? What about a laptop?
    • If not the macchimney, is such convection-current-cooling technology still possible?
    • I remember the MacChimney. Actually, it was used because the original Macs up to the Mac Plus never had a fan at all. They were intended to be cooled by convection, but because the original Macs had a notoriously unstable power supply, people resorted to odd measures to keep cool.
  • I mean, what kind of guy calls his personal site smuniverse? Sounds like some black-leather-and-lots-of-pain pr0n site...
    • Actually, it's a guy that all of us know as "Smu" (or "Smoo"), a nickname he picked up as a kid. Something related to a Hannah-Barbera cartoon, I think.

      Hell - I didn't even know his name was James until more than a year after I met him!
  • by EvilStein ( 414640 ) <.ten.pbp. .ta. .maps.> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @11:22AM (#3420915)
    /. authors should know better than to never link to anything on Angelfire. 10 people hit the site and drove the poor guy over his daily bandwidth limit.

    It's a useless mirror now...
  • The site is slashdotted so I can't get the specs on the hardware, but I bet you could make a pretty nice Linux Workgroup server out of one, and it'd be cuter than the Sun Cobalt Qube [] or even the Green Computer PowerElf []. And you would have a display/keyboard/mouse locally at the machine. Sounds cool to me.

  • Wired had this great story about compact macs in Japan which, among other things, showed a G3 powerbook's innards ported to a Mac 128K enclosure, running OS X [] on the original 9" b/w 512.384 screen.
  • Just get an old Macintosh SE/30, upgrade the RAM and the hard drive and install m68klinux or NetBSD (of course it runs NetBSD!). I did and I'm currently running a webserver on it (well, at least until the end of the semester) here []. Yeah, it's slow. But nothing beats running X on a 512x384 black and white screen.

  • ...the mirror at angelfire sucks ass and smuniverse is fine.

  • Something like this would make a great semi-portable for gaming with friends. Put a decently quick system in it with a decent video card, and make fun of your friends that have their tricked out cases with handles on 'em. You can get your system to a friend's place with less weight AND have the monitor built in.

    Still not as portable as a laptop, but a hell of a lot better than a tower case and a 17" monitor for LAN parties and the like.


  • Any UK folk wanting 9 and 10 inch monitors can get one here []; you have to click on the text CLICK HERE FOR MORE COMPONENT OFFERS on the scrolly at the top of the page to get to the Offers List (URL changes a lot).

    They do them for £10, and the monitors are great. From old POS terminals, but they're very clean with no burn and can handle 800x600 at 24bpp!

    They also throw in cool telescopic stands; I have two flanking my main 19" CRT like mickey mouse ears. Perfect for throwing debug windows etc out onto... and a 3-monitor setup for £30 (including a tenner for a PCI dual-head Matrox card) really ain't bad.

    Last time I was down there they had hundreds left in the warehouse so if they're not on the list anymore give 'em a call.
  • You could do what I have done, add a window to my SE/30. Yeah, I know, your saying "eeeeAaAGH! You hacked up a Mac!", or "Why?!?!?" Well tough, I like the idea of adding a little coolness to it. I might even cram a PC in there if I can ever afford an lCD screen for it. My SE/30 Case Mod Page []. Its far from done but what the heck, go take a look. (forgive me if the site is slow, I'm hosted on SiteTurn and they are not the best at keeping things running smoothly. Well maybe they are, but they never answer their email. This will prob. kill a server or two. ;-) )
  • Temporarily Unavailable

    The Angelfire site you are trying to reach has been temporarily suspended due to excessive bandwidth consumption.

    The site will be available again in approximately 1 hours!

    LOL.... another one slashdoted:))))
    • Nah. Slashdot can do better than this. A real Slashdotting would necessitate us not being able to get to the page which tells us that we can't get to the page:

      Temporarily Unavailable

      The Angelfire Excessive Bandwidth Consumption Page you are trying to reach has been temporarily suspended due to excessive bandwidth consumption.

      The error will be accessible again in approximately 1 hours!
  • C'mon, I thought the "Beowulf cluster" joke was obligatory?
  • Want a PeeCee in a Mac case? How about the best of both worlds (no emulation involved)? Apple producted a 486 expansion card for the original PowerMacs. Sweet little Cyrix chip on a NuBus card that allowed you to run DOS and Windows natively. Had some compatibility issues, but it was pretty neat at the time. They also later built a card for PCI macs based off the Pentium line of Intel processors.
  • I must say, there are more people out there with the idea. I have turned the idea over in my head several times. Although the innards I have thought of putting in are XT based. 8088 or 8086. Then I could raid an older luggable for the screen. Hmmmm....I have an XT mobo sitting around....

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM